“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
“Think Different”, Apple, Inc. 1997
I woke up this morning, reached for the iPad, and learned in that way, with great sadness, that Steve Jobs had died. As I drove my children to school this morning, they both pointed out the iStore as we passed by. The iPad was the most incredible gift to our family. I’ve even written about how the iPad helped my two kids to connect with each other. I’m convinced that this is an essential tool for my girl that will grow with her, supporting and organizing her as she adds more of the skills she needs to succeed in life.
But Steve Job’s legacy is greater than that. When Pudding first started at her special education preschool, there was another little boy in the class on the autism spectrum. C was non-verbal, with self-injurious and other difficult to manage behaviours. He didn’t do well in that classroom, and when the consult was called in assess him for the preschool autism class, that was when Pudding came to the attention of her beloved Ms. S too. The two kids moved over to the PAC together, and remained in the same class until we moved.
Pudding had a crush on C. She would get shy around him and cover her eyes when he looked at her, or if we mentioned his name. Every time I went to see Pudding in her classroom, I got a glimpse of C, struggling so much harder than Pudding that it was hard to imagine they shared the same diagnosis. He made progress in the new classroom, but he remained unable to communicate at a most basic level. Pudding’s teacher used an iPod in her classroom, and like all the other kids, C was drawn to it. She began the paperwork, and eventually he was granted an iPad and the communication software to go with it.
The last time I visited the school, the class had a leaving party for Pudding. The difference in C was incredible. He was calmly sitting at the table eating his lunch. After he finished the food on his plate, he used the device to request more. The entire time I was there, I saw no tears or aggression. Ms. S told me they’d even begun toilet-training for him, something that seemed impossible a few months previously. Finally this incredibly frustrated little boy was able to express himself in ways that weren’t harmful. He has a way to connect himself with the rest of the world, and we have a way to understand him.
There are countless children like C and Pudding, who “think different” and now have the ability to communicate, to connect, even to escape from the longest hauliest of long-haul flights thanks to this technology. Who knows, perhaps they may one day be those adults who push the human race forward. It may not have been his original intention, but Steve Jobs’ vision created the tools for these people. The ultimate square pegs in round holes. Staring at an empty canvas and seeing a work of art. Sitting in silence and hearing a song that’s never been written. This was his legacy: bridging our worlds.
I think Steve Jobs must have been crazy enough to think he could change the world, because he did. He changed ours.